New York City is one of the liveliest places in the world, full of people ready to live life to the fullest. There’s also a bunch of dead people walking around. And here’s where you can find them…
1. The House of Death
Pulling no punches with the first entry in the list. The aptly named townhouse on West 10th is home to the ghost of Mark Twain, who has been seen dressed in a white suit wandering up the staircase. However, the house is most famous for being the scene of six-year-old Lisa Steinberg’s murder at the hands of her adopted father Joel Steinberg in 1987. If that’s not enough to give you the willies, there are said to be 22 different spooks lurking in the building, including the ghost of a cat.
14 West 10th St.
2. New Amsterdam Theatre
The ghost of actress Olive Thomas is said to walk around this NYC theatre clutching the bottle of pills she overdosed on. Actors and stagehands at the Broadway theatre pay their respects to Olive by saying goodbye to a photo of her that hangs by the stage door. Why do they do this? Because Olive is known to have a bit of a temper, causing malfunctions in stage equipment and flirting with men before disappearing through a wall.
214 W 42nd St.
3. Washington Square Park
We know the idea of a city park being haunted because it was built on a burial ground sounds like something you might read on the back of a straight-to-DVD horror movie box, but this is the real deal. City planners threw caution to the wind and built the recreation area on top of 20,000 dead bodies. New Yorkers now tell tales of ghostly goings on, like a spirit that watches silently in the northeast corner.
4. Brittany Hall
If there’s one thing we know here at Secret NYC, it’s that little girl ghosts are the scariest of all ghosts. Which is why you wouldn’t catch us dead at this student residence. Legend has it, an eight-year-old girl named Molly fell down an elevator shaft in 1929 and has been roaming the dorms ever since. People have seen antiquated chairs blocking doors, ghostly faces and heard mysterious knocking One building manager recommends saying, “Don’t play with me, Molly” if you see her and everything will be fine. Yeah, like we’d hang around long enough.
55 E 10th St.
5. White Horse Tavern
This bar was a regular haunt for poet Dylan Thomas, who one day decided it’d be worth seeing what would happen if he drank 18 shots of whiskey. Can you guess what happened? The ghost of Thomas is said to sit at his regular table where empty glasses appear from time to time. Creepy AF.
567 Hudson St.
6. St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery
Churches can be pretty spooky places at the best of times. So a church with the spirit of a one-legged Dutchman is not somewhere we’re really psyched to go on a Sunday. The building rests on the burial ground (when will people learn?) of New Amsterdam governor Peter Stuyvesant, who is said to disrupt Sunday services by ringing bells, singing hymns in Dutch and generally being a dick.
131 E 10th St.
7. The Dakota
Famously the place where former Beatle John Lennon was shot dead by Mark Chapman, the Dakota actually has a longer history of the paranormal. While Lennon was reportedly seen by Yoko Ono playing the piano, the musician himself reported seeing a crying lady in the building (but then again, he also said he was the “walrus goo goo g’joob”, so…) Others have spotted a little girl (dammit) dressed in period clothing and an adult man with the face of a child. Yeeesh.
1 W 72nd St.
8. Morris-Jumel Mansion
This house might have the most eclectic collection of ghouls, including a talking grandfather clock and a soldier who steps out of a painting like in Harry frickin’ Potter. But by far the most spine-chilling tale is that of Eliza Jumel, who after being rumored to have murdered her first husband, died after divorcing her second husband, former vice-president Aaron Burr. Most ghost stories hang on the testimony of one, typically crazy, person, but a whole field trip of schoolchildren witnessed Jumel dressed in a violet gown appear and tell them all to shut up. She apparently seemed delusional when she appeared, which is put down to the dementia she suffered in life. WTF?!
65 Jumel Terrace
9. Hotel Chelsea
The most famous ghosts at this establishment are Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. The punk rock couple were staying at the hotel when Spungen was found with a stab wound to the abdomen thought to have been the work of Vicious (who died of a heroin overdose shortly after). Another famous spook here is Dylan Thomas who died in the hotel after suffering alcohol poisoning at the nearby White Horse Tavern (remember?), making him one of the most prolific ghosts in NYC.
222 W 23rd St.
10. One If By Land, Two If By Sea
This restaurant has all the trappings of your typical haunted building: Chandeliers, dark wood, and ghosts that push people down stairs. It is believed to be haunted by the ghost of the former owner Aaron Burr (yes, the ex-husband of the demented ghost who screams at kids at the Morris-Jumel Mansion) and his daughter, who is said to steal women’s earrings at the bar.
17 Barrow St.
Featured cover image: One If By Land, Two If By Sea